Toby broke a leg right before the Frankfurt Book Fair last year and used his misfortune to raise money for Della Sar's terrific charity Friends of Della and Don and is doing the same this time around. Delegates at the Conference raised a stunning £520 for the charity to hear the story of how the latest accident unfolded so here is the story right from the horses mouth:
"I was out riding with my children and a couple of gauchos on a estancia (ranch) a couple of hours outside Buenos Aires. As we turned to head back, my horse started skittering and rearing for no apparent reason – there are various theories, it saw a snake, was bitten by an insect, smelt an armadillo (seriously!) – but whatever it was, I lost my balance and fell off. So far, so good; nothing hurt except my pride. But as I lay on the ground, to my surprise the bloody animal fell onto me. I rolled onto my side but not fast enough and the horse landed on my hip, compressing the pelvis (and everything inside!). They’re heavy, are horses. Anyway, it bloody hurt and I figured something wasn’t right so I stayed still, pleased that my toes and feet could move, reassuring the children I wasn’t about to die (that was their first question!) and that all would be well. Thankfully one of the gauchos had his mobile and he called for help. 45 minutes later an ambulance bounced across the field to pick me up and then bounced back across the field and then 20 minutes down the unmade road to the nearest town and the Argentinean equivalent of a cottage hospital. An antique X-ray machine confirmed an indeterminate number of fractures (evidently the pelvis is a bugger to X-ray because X-rays are not in 3D – where’s that man James Cameron when you need him [Ed: I wonder if we could sell the film rights: Broke Butt Mountain 3D!]). So, next day, I was transferred to a very posh clinic (thank you medical insurance) in Buenos Aires, complete with nuns, where they could do a CAT scan. Argentinean diagnosis: 3 fractures (both sides of the pubis and left sacrum – the bit where the pelvis joins the spine) but despite all the bumping about, everything was still in the correct position so no need for the knife or even a sticking plaster – just endless bed rest flat on my back. I then spent two weeks listening to nuns singing in the morning and then was flat-packed courtesy of Air France back to Paris. French diagnosis from the same scan, 4 fractures – but then the French are all hypochondriacs and have a tendency to exaggerate. Sadly the French clinic has no nuns (singing or otherwise) but is giving me a taste of what living in an OAP home might be like, I reckon I’m the youngest inmate by around 20 years. I've started re-hab in the clinic’s pool – walking about on crutches waist deep in water, very strange. Nearly fell over backwards. Muscles have forgotten how to walk!"Toby hopes to raise enough to support four orphans (one for each fracture) for a year and he's already half way there thanks to the generosity of attendees at the ALPSP Conference and it's not too late to give an online donation of any size to help support Della's charity!
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